Past Predictions

Jeff McLanahan
Contributing Writer

At one time or another, we have all read some list of predictions for the future.  At the start of every year, decade and even century, there are numerous lists of predictions for the future.

Many of these predictions seem unlikely, some seem realistic, and others seem a little unnecessary because just about everyone could have predicted them.

Instead of making even more predictions, I would like to review a few of my favorite predictions that have been made in the last several decades and the impact these are having on us and our businesses.

Past Prediction #1 – Employers will face a severe shortage of skilled labor.

As the economy continues to grow, there continues to be a shortage of skilled labor, especially in the trades.  While efforts are being made to bring in more people in the future, employers are stuck dealing with the shortage now.  Recruiters are becoming very aggressive in the highly competitive environment and people are changing jobs more frequently than ever before.  To keep employees longer, employers will need to ensure that their employees feel valued and appreciated.  Although compensation is one element of the puzzle, recognition and growth will play large roles also.

Past Prediction #2 – People will work longer.

Retirement, or at least retirement as we have known it will evolve.  Whether for financial reasons or health reasons, employees will continue to work into their seventies, and even eighties and nineties.  They may move into different roles or start their own businesses, but they will continue to remain active.  Phased retirement will be a useful tactic to keep people employed longer and help with knowledge transfer to those that will eventually fill their shoes.

Past Prediction #3 – Leadership skills will gain in importance.

Serious issues will continue to arise and will force leadership development to take on more importance.  High potential employees will be required to learn and practice leaderships skills in order to advance to mid-level and senior management positions.  Those currently in place that do not demonstrate leadership skills will either need to learn them or will be asked to leave the company.

Past Prediction #4 – Formal is out. Casual is in.

Despite some groups trying to move back to a more formal workplace, the casual environment is here to stay most industries.  This casual movement will go beyond clothing to include office décor, workplace culture and even team alignment/structure.  Relationship building and the skills associated with it will be major ingredients to success both inside and outside the workplace.

Past Prediction #5 – Learning and development will be a key to continued success.

Employers are placing a greater emphasis on the development of their people.  Continuous learning and staying current in your chosen field of expertise will be required for ongoing employment.  Internal and external development programs will be utilized to develop and even re-skill employees, and those not actively working on self-development will quickly find their skills obsolete.

As a learning and development professional, I would like to point out that you don’t need a crystal ball to see that all these 5 past predictions can be addressed in large part by training and equipping your people for success.  Don’t wait for the future to happen, start creating it!

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